Friday, April 30, 2010

What is Bipolar?

I have been thinking a lot about this over the past few months.  There is a wide range of experiences reported by people who are diagnosed bipolar.  It is not true to say that bipolar is swinging from happy to sad and back again.  Lots of people who are manic or hypomanic are not happy.  I think the emotions are so compelling that they distract people from what is really going on.

It seems to me, and certainly based on my experience, that bipolar is really about fluctuations in energy.  Physical and mental energy.  Low energy may correspond to sadness, hopelessness, or often in my case, apathy.  High energy corresponds to happiness, exuberance, or many times to irritation, anger, confusion and delusion.  I think we are entirely mislead by looking for psychological or psychiatric causes for bipolar.  The psychiatric irregularities are a symptom, not the cause.

Now that that's solved, I can update you on my doctor's appointment yesterday.  My blood test results were all good.  Blood sugar is down, not as much as I hoped, but down.  I expect that as the last dregs of Risperdal leave my system my blood sugar will continue to improve.  So, success!  It looks like I am out of the woods as far as developing diabetes is concerned.

My thyroid levels were also good.  You may recall that in December I drastically reduced my Synthroid dose, and it looks like that was the right move.  I mentioned to Truehope Support that I was doing this, and they said that others have also found that they need less while on Empowerplus.

So, it's all good.  And now, when people ask me what bipolar is like, I finally have an answer that makes sense to me!